Staff & Board


Eric Thut

Executive Director

Karen Thomas Kolber

Development Director

Elana Levin

Training Director

Mary Rickles Conley

Communications/Political Director

Carolyn Dulchinos

Partner Relationship Manager

Board of Directors

Arshad Hasan

Arshad has held positions of leadership all over the progressive movement. After having served as the Executive Director first for Democracy For America (2007-2013) and then for Progress Now (2013-2015), Arshad now independently consults with groups to support the growth and capacity of a wide range of organizations in the progressive movement. Arshad came to the first Netroots Nation (then called YearlyKos) when he was the Training Director at Democracy for America in 2005. He’s been hooked ever since. When he’s not rousing the rabble, Arshad prefers baking, yoga, or having a night on the town. He lives with his tiny poodle, Cole, in Burlington, Vermont.

Adam Bonin, Secretary

Adam is a political law attorney in solo practice in his native Philadelphia, where he works with Democratic candidates, party entities, labor unions, and other entities in the public arena. His start in the field occurred in 2005, when he represented three bloggers pro bono before the Federal Election Commission and helped establish the right of online activists to have the same freedoms as traditional media under campaign finance law. He has been a volunteer with Netroots Nation since the beginning, and served as Board Chair from 2008-14.

Aimee Allison

Aimee, president of Democracy in Color, works to build the political power of the new American majority, the multiracial electorate powerfully led by women of color. She writes, speaks, and organizes on behalf of these voters who elected Barack Obama and could secure a progressive future for generations to come. Aimee moderated the first DNC Chair Forum to address race and the future of the Democratic Party. Her podcast, Democracy in Color, features congressional leaders, thought leaders and exciting next generation candidates. This September, she will host the first national summit on women of color in politics, She the People ( She was one of the first women of color to be honorably discharged from the U.S. Army as a conscientious objector and is dedicating her efforts to support courageous, moral leadership. She has been published in the New York Times and ESSENCE Magazine and is online @aimeeallison.

Cheryl Contee, Chair

Cheryl is the CEO of Fission Strategy, which helps the world’s leading non-profits & foundations create change through innovation. She is also the co-founder of groundbreaking social marketing software at Blackbaud, the first tech startup with a black female founder on board in history to be acquired by a NASDAQ-traded company.

Gina Cooper

Gina is the founder and lead strategist for Cooper Strategies which focuses startups in emergent technologies that impact civic spaces. Gina is also programming director for Startup Policy Lab, a Silicon Valley think-tank home to the Truth in Public Comments project and the Global Election Technology Summit. Additionally she is a mentor at Runway Accelerator in San Francisco, serves on the advisory boards of Qeyno Group, Global EIR, Data4America, Lean Studio, and Farmhouse. Gina also founded Netroots Nation. Before that she was a high school science and math teacher. Her family currently lives on a small farm in west Sonoma county wine country.

Anita Jackson

Anita is MomsRising’s digital communications director. Anita leads creative communications campaigns that center marginalized voices, support policy-changing grassroots action, and drive organizational growth. By organizing in methods both innovative and tried-and-true, MomsRising’s content reaches an audience of several million, including an active, diverse, and influential network on the ground and across traditional and social media platforms.

Marianne Manilov

Marianne is a founder of The Engage Network (, which incubates, researches, and advises on building decentralized, people-led networks. The practice marries the best online organizing strategies with a unique, small circle approach to build field. Prior to Engage, Manilov spent 25 years in organizing. She co-founded several c3 and c4 efforts including The Center for Commercial-Free Public Education, which brought the corporate takeover of public schools onto the national agenda and created grassroots networks in 23 states.

Melissa Ryan

Melissa’s work lives at the intersection of politics, media, and technology. For more than a decade she has been a staple in the progressive movement, helping progressives build and grow online communities. Ryan is currently a visiting fellow at Media Matters for America, where she works alongside the researchers and writers studying the intersection of disinformation and technology, sharing her own expertise and identifying opportunities for content that benefits the public. She is the editor of Ctrl Alt-Right Delete, a weekly newsletter in partnership with Hope not hate devoted to understanding how the right operates online, which has more than 15,000 subscribers. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaRyan.

Brian Young

Brian is the Executive Director of Action Network. Before starting Action Network, he served in numerous leadership roles in Democratic digital politics, including heading up digital work for SuperPACs and acting as Digital Director for Senator John Kerry. He has also been a filmmaker, producing historical documentaries for public television.